UK: 2,000 MW of offshore energy by 2020

In the United Kingdom, a capacity of about 2,000 MW will be installed in 2020 from plants harnessing energy from waves, tides and currents. The latter was announced by Energy and Climate Change minister, David Kidney, who presented the new government report Offshore Energy Sea – Strategic Environmental Assessment.

«By including wave and tidal in this assessment for the first time, we’re laying the foundations for commercial deployment of these technologies», said Kidney.

Over the past 10 years the British government has invested about 60 million pounds (66 million euros) in marine energy research and development projects. But according to the REA (Renewable Energy Association, the marine energy industrial association) a further investment of 150-200 million pounds (166-221 million euros) is required.

"There must be greater awareness of the need for initial investment. With the right investment, marine energy will create 43,500 jobs and bring 4.2 billion pounds (4.6 billion euros) a year to the British economy, "said Peter Madigan, Head of REA offshore Technologies.

In Britain, only 2.4 MW of marine energy are currently installed. Additional 27 MW have been approved, while about 77.5 MW regard planned projects. Nevertheless, many observers believe that this field could be close to a breakthrough, particularly because of the first tender for projects harnessing marine energy in northern Scotland, whose results will be known at the end of March. Plants are expected to be authorized for a total capacity up to 700 MW, involving large and not only British-based companies, like Sweden’s Vattenfall and Germany’s E.On.